Sea and Snow: Outdoor Fun with Tokyo Snow Club

By Bonnie Waycott
August 11, 2015
Health & Beauty, Lifestyle

Despite its very wintery sounding name, Tokyo Snow Club (TSC) is an outdoor event-oriented group that offers a wide range of outdoor activities throughout the year to young-hearted, active adults, both Japanese and foreign, in the Tokyo region. Whether you've just arrived in Tokyo or have lived here for many years, TSC is a great way to explore Japan's outdoors with other fun, like-minded individuals.

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But why Tokyo Snow? Australian George Foster, who runs TSC, established the club after regularly planning snow trips for friends. Soon he found the groups getting larger as people invited their friends and spread the word, so he decided to set up a formal outdoor club with a name. TSC soon became much more than a ski and snowboard group, with various trips now running throughout the year. It’s free to join and open to anyone living in Tokyo.

Today, the group schedules a range of outdoor activities for the benefit of members. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, others such as whitewater rafting, cycling trips, hiking, diving and snorkeling are all on offer. Of course there’s the social side as well, with events such as cherry blossom viewing in March or April, Tokyo Bay party cruises in August and “special” outdoor activities like photography workshops. TSC does all the work, so all you have to do is sign up, show up, and have fun!

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The Green Season

Not everything with TSC is headed downhill! Recreational activities abound during TSC’s summer season, or green season, as the group calls it. Kicking off around June or July, the majority of events take place in and around the Kanto region and include hiking trips up Mt. Fuji, weekend beach and camping trips to the Izu Islands (Niijima for surfing and Shikinejima for diving and snorkeling), kayaking in Okutama and whitewater rafting in Gunma’s Minakami. Maybe you want something less strenuous or are up for more challenging physical activities. Whatever your preference, TSC’s green season will have something for you.

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The White Season

Don’t get discouraged by the skiing and snowboarding—you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy TSC’s winter season, or white season. Members range in prowess from beginners to experts, while others prefer to spend more time in the hot springs or simply indoors enjoying a cup of hot chocolate. White Season begins on the first weekend of December with a day trip to the Naeba/Kagura ski resort, followed by trips every weekend until the end of March. TSC’s instructors teach the basics of skiing and boarding so that you know how to put your gear on, understand how to get on and off the lifts, and know the basic rules of skiing and snowboarding etiquette before your first run at the top of the mountain.

Snow destinations include Zao in Yamagata (home to the famous snow monsters), Hokkaido’s Niseko resort, and others closer to Tokyo such as Nozawa Onsen, Shiga Kogen (famous for its annual beer festival and cute bathing monkeys!), and Tsugaike Kogen.

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Join in the Fun

TSC brings people together in a friendly and inviting atmosphere. With summer now in full swing, this is a great time to get out and meet other outdoor enthusiasts in the Tokyo area.

More information about TSC, its events and prices can be found online by clicking here. Alternatively, send a message to George Foster at info@tokyosnowclub.com.

Note that TSC’s events can be busy and often fill up very quickly, especially during the snow season, but there is always a waiting list to sign up for. The event coordinators make every effort to add those on the list to the event, to ensure that as many people as possible are able to get out and enjoy themselves.

Bonnie is a freelance translator and narrator who was born in the UK and lived in Japan for five years as a child. Her interest in marine life began when her father taught her how to snorkel on Sado Island near her mother's hometown in Niigata. She became a certified diver four years ago in New Caledonia, and has been exploring Japan's waters ever since. Her blog, Rising Bubbles, is a comprehensive guide to scuba diving in Japan and also contains articles on marine-related news and events. When she's out of the water she loves running, yoga and the odd yakitori or three!

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